Free Essay. Live in the Universe.

Published: 2023-04-09
Free Essay. Live in the Universe.
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Philosophy Space Ancient Greece
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1226 words
11 min read

Human beings began a long time ago to speculate on how the Universe is all about. When people looked up in the sky, stars could be seen fixed in their patterns. From the time immemorial, stars have been rotating through the sky, a fact which most communities used to tell the type of the season. However, planets are of different sizes and puzzling as people attempted to understand the nature of the planets and how they move resulted in the modern scientific understanding of motion and gravity. The ancient and medieval societies were of the view that planets and the stars rotated around the Earth that was believed to be fixed. Renaissance astronomers had to question the geocentric idea basing the argument that the motion of the planet was complex as they could be seen moving backward in the sky (Guthke, 2019). Later, the astronomers discovered the law called orbital mechanics, which transformed natural philosophical views to scientific practice. This paper seeks to explain the Greek perspective, the Copernican revolution, Identify the key thinkers and their contribution to our understanding of the world, celestial objects, Universe had to change to Newton's scientific view.

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Greek Philosopher's View on Universe

Greeks had conflicting views on why the planets moved across the sky. However, their thinking shaped the world view of the civilization of the west leading up to the 16th-century scientific revolution. One camp believed that planets were orbiting around the Sun, which was contrary to Aristotle's idea, who thought that the Sun and the planets were orbiting the Earth. During this time, Aristotle, whose argument prevailed, saw no sign that justified that the Earth was in motion. He added that there was no perpetual wind that could be seen blowing on the Earth's surface, and an object thrown up straight did not fall behind the thrower. Basing on two explanations, Aristotle affirmed that the Earth was not in motion. Aristotle's view of stationary Earth dominated the natural philosophy for about 1000 years (Guthke, 2019). During this time, geocentric worldview dominated Christian theology being a religious doctrine referred to as natural philosophy.

Another priest sharply criticized the natural philosophy of Aristotle by the name Nicolaus Copernicus who asserted that Earth, like other planets, was revolving around the Sun. The theory was later packed by few scientists. Christians were not happy with Copernicus and it was termed as wrong and unacceptable. Those were supporting it were faced heresy charges the likes of Giordano Bruno. When Bruno was found teaching heretical ideas of Copernicus was burned at the stage. Copernicus was packed by Galileo evidence on heliocentric solar system. In 1610,

he pointed the telescope into the sky and for the first time saw moon that were orbiting Jupiter (Guthke, 2019). Then he dispelled Aristotle's ideas, that planets orbited the Earth. Furthermore, he was able to observe phases of Venus, which justified that planets orbited the Sun. Likewise, Galileo was also tried and placed under house arrest for heresy under Roman rule.

Meanwhile, Johannes Kepler, a German mathematical equation, offered a real explanation of how the planets were orbiting the Sun. Later in 1697, Isaac Newton brought to an end the Aristotelian perspective of motion that was centered on geocentric view of the Universe when he packed Kepler's view (Guthke, 2019). Newton explained how the planets orbited the Sun giving the force that was keeping them in check known as gravity. Even though Copernicus had ascertained that planets were orbiting the Sun, it was Kepler who established their orbits. Kepler was then, 27 years when he became the first astronomer. He named the orbits under the leadership of Tycho Brahe, who devoted his life observing the Universe and later passed into Kepler's hands. Kepler found out that planets were using three laws to orbit the Earth.

Initially, Kepler held a mystical belief that planets orbited in circler manner. He later started struggling to build on the argument from Brahe's observation about Mar's motion to match up with the so-called circular orbit. Eventually, Kepler noticed that planets moved more quickly when it was nearer to the Sun as opposed when it was far away. The distance between the Sun and the planets was imaginary determined use of triangle. Such discovery was the second law of Kepler that later led to his first law that stated that planets were moving in an elliptical manner around the Sun. The third law was based on the precision relationship between the amount of time a planet takes and the distance covered to revolve around the Sun (Shapin, 2018). Newton was inspired by this law to come up with his three laws on motion.

Newton's Three Laws on Motion

Kepler came up with laws that explained the movement of planets. Conversely, Newton's laws were defining motion, whether an object falling or the moon orbiting around the Earth was under the influence of similar laws and same principles. As such, the two bodies were caused by same natural effects. Newton shifted his attention away from science and wanted to establish what was behind the force that pulled objects thrown up to fall back unto the Earth.

  • Law 1: Every Body assumes a state of rest, or uniform motion in a straight line, unless if forced to change its direction by applying a force on it. Meaning, an object that is in motion won't change its initial direction unless an outside force acts on it. The law that was called inertia
  • Law 2: the alteration of motion is directly proportional to force applied, and it made in the direction of the right line from which the force was applied.
  • Law 3: to every action, there is usually opposed an equal reaction. He described it like," If you press a stone with a figure, the figure is also pressed with the stone (Shapin, 2018).

Newton called the force that pulls objects towards the center of the Earth as gravity. He asserted the effect of such force depends on the mass of the object. Newton's theory was later used to explain the force behind the rising and falling of sea tides, which was established to be as a result of the moon's gravitation pull as it orbits the Earth.

Relativity by Einstein

Einstein challenged ideas of Newton in 1905, arguing that such theory depended on the assumption that distance, mass, and time are constant with no regard from where they were measured. His theory of relativity treats the three things that are mass, space as well as time as fluid things basing on the observer's frame of reference (Shelly, 2018). Therefore, all objects moving on Earth's surface are under one frame of reference as opposed to an astronaut in a spaceship moving at high speed which would result in a deferent reference frame.

In essence, the Copernican revolution is similar to present-day science. The revolution brought a paradigm shift from a belief in stationary Earth to a heliocentric model the Sun is at the center. The revolution had two phases. The phase that was based on mathematics and the other that relied on a pamphlet by Galileo the revolution culminated in Isaac Newton's ideas on motion over a century later.


Guthke, K. S. (2019). The Last Frontier: Imagining Other Worlds from the Copernican Revolution to Modern Science Fiction. Cornell University Press.

Shapin, S. (2018). The scientific revolution. University of Chicago Press.

Shelly, P. B. (2018). The Copernican Revolution That Never Was. Astrotheology: Science and Theology Meet Extraterrestrial Life, 90.

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